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Ely, Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 102142
Experience:  Attorney in general practice,
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I was in a Nursing program and in my senior year they

Customer Question

I was in a Nursing program and in my senior year they changed the way of learning on us. It was my Junior Year. They made it so we were doing powerpoints and lectures (voiceovers) at home instead of in the classroom. Being a full time LPN and mother of two I told them that was going to be impossible for me to do and is going to make it impossible for me to make it throught the rest of the program. I felt if I wanted to do an online at home school. I would have gone to excelsior. With that being said, I barely passed, missed by a few points and the following semester was 12 credits as oppose to 8. I asked if there was anything else I could do being only one semester away from completing my degree. I was told I should fight this because they should not be changing things in the middle of a two year program. Is this true and do I have a case?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information only for educational purposes only, and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. On this website, I do not always get to give good news, and this is one of these times. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize. Thanks in advance for not "shooting the messenger."

I am not sure who told you that this would be a viable case, but from the facts, it does not sound like it. The school has discretion on how it teaches the material to you. They do not have to specifically focus on classroom only, and can utilize any method they want provided that:

1) They conform to state standards and requirements, and

2) They actually teach the material in a way that would allow a standard person to pass any licensure exams.

Unless your contract with the school specifically states that they would the old way (unlikely such a clause exists in the contract), then the school is free to choose how to teach the material. It is understandable that you may have some difficulties with the new way of material being taught given your home situation, but the school has not duty to conform/adapt to a student's home needs when teaching the material. I am sorry.

Please note: If I tell you simply what you wish to hear, this would be unfair to you. I want to be honest with you and sometimes this means providing information that is not optimal. Negative ratings are reserved for experts who are rude or for erroneous information. Please rate me on the quality of my information; do not punish me for my honesty.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
schools can just simply change their way of teaching. From lecture to online for no reason even if it effects students ability to complete school? I thought they had to complete a program the same way. I would understand if they changed their ways on the freshman. But seniors who are used to the "old way" and just get used to learning the old way, you then throw a curve ball and change it up. How is that acceptable?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Yes, they can. Or rather, there is nothing that states that they cannot, unless there is something in your contract that makes this a brick and mortar school only. Do read through it. However I am guessing that no such clause exists.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

So what kind of action would be here? Little really, because they did not do anything wrong - arguably. As long as they continue to deliver quality education, that is all that matters.

NOW, a case may be made for negligence and fraud. I say may be. Negligence means a presence of duty, breach of that duty, and damages. The elements of a cause of action for fraud require a material misrepresentation of a fact, knowledge of its falsity, an intent to induce reliance, justifiable reliance by the plaintiff and damages (see Ross v Louise Wise Servs., Inc., 8 NY3d 478, 488 [2007]; Lama Holding Co. v Smith Barney, 88 NY2d 413, 421 [1996]).

To prove negligence, a Judge or Jury would have to be shown that the school was negligent in misleading the students about the type of education they would receive, and they way it would be received. To prove fraud, it would have to be shown that the school knew that they were going to switch, and actively mislead students into believing that this was something else.

The final decision is that of a Judge or Jury. So there may be a case, but it would be weak, since the school may successfully argue in defense that they never specifically stated how the classes would be presented.

Thanks again for not shooting the messenger, in advance.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had no idea they were changing their way of teaching until the semester came and they threw it at us. I went directly to the head or nursing and said this wasnt fair. I paid Alot money at that school (Maria college). Is it wrong to expect some type of support or acceptance that certain students cant learn that way. I wouldn't have spent all that money if i knew they would change it. I felt stuck and now totallt screwed
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

I understand. My answer stands as is, here. You'd have to show negligence or fraud to be successful at any type of suit. Understand that while it may not be fair, it does not necessarily mean that it is actionable in Court.

If you wish so, it is worth a try, but the case would be weak, as explained above.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have to do more homework and investigations on the contracts then.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
School contract or Nursing program contract?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Indeed. If the contracts promises a certain way of schooling - that the school has not provided - then the case is much stronger. One can sue for breach of contract and negligence for example.

However if nothing like this exists in the contract, it would be a weak case for negligence/fraud at best.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello again. I am checking in because you have not rated positively. To me this means you may have another question. Please let me know – I am simply touching base. Thanks!

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